The impatiens plant has a number of things going for it that make it so well-liked. They make a great addition to your indoor décor as well as to your outdoor garden or landscape design.
There are over 800 different types of impatiens plants and they are fairly an easy plant to grow and maintain.
The main thing that makes the impatiens variety of annuals so popular is they offer vibrant bursts of colorful flowers that brighten anywhere they are planted. Even better, even though they go dormant during the winter months, they re-bloom in the spring and you get to enjoy them all over again.
All you have to do is cut them back in the fall so they have room to regrow their flowers again.
How Do You Take Care of an Impatiens Plant?
Even though this plant is easy to grow, there are a few things you need to do to keep them alive and thriving.
Keep Them Hydrated
When you purchase them from a nursery or garden center they are most likely already blooming. They need to be hydrated but not over-watered. You can plant them outside or put them in a decorative pot and keep them indoors.
If you keep them outside putting a layer of mulch on top of the soil is a good idea to keep them moist at all times without overdoing it.
Make Sure They Have the Proper Light
The impatiens plants do best in the shade. They can take some sun but not directly.
If you want to put them outdoors in a place that gets a lot of sun try exposing it to a limited amount of sunshine each day building its exposure a little bit at a time.
Fertilize During the Spring and Summer Months
In order to keep the constant growth of flowers, you need to use a water-soluble fertilizer every couple of weeks. If you prefer an easier way, you can use a time-release fertilizer in the beginning of the spring and again halfway through the summer.
Give Them a Pinch Now and Then
In order to get the most from your impatiens plant, pinch off the flowers here and there. This will give your plant room to grow more flowers and will give you a fuller plant.
Get Them Ready for Hibernation
These plants thrive all during the spring and summer months but then they rest up during the fall and winter months. All you need to do is cut them back until they are just a couple of inches high.
If they are planted outside, carefully dig them up and put them in a small container, and fill with potting soil. You don’t need to fertilize them but keep them watered.
What Do You Do if the Leaves on your Impatiens Turn Yellow?
While the impatiens plants are easy to grow that doesn’t mean they are without problems. In a healthy impatiens plant the leaves are a dark green.
If the leaves on your plants are starting or have already turned yellow it could be due to several different reasons.
1 – Too Much Water
Before you get the hang of how much water your impatiens plant needs you may accidentally overwater it. If you know that the soil is extremely moist this is most likely why the leaves are turning yellow.
To quickly remedy this situation, remove the yellow leaves and poke some holes in the soil with a pencil or stick so that the roots can begin to breathe again.
2 – Not Enough Water
Instead of too much hydration, the leaves can be turning yellow because they are thirsty. While you probably water all your plants the same way, pouring water on top of the soil, you may want to start at the bottom.
Fill your sink with a few inches of water then put your plant in its container in the sink. The roots will then be able to become properly hydrated.
3 – Nematodes
If your plants have yellow leaves in the morning but they begin to look better later in the day, it may be because of nematodes. Nematodes are small skinny worms that attack the roots of the plant.
If these are the culprits you have no choice but to dig up the plant and toss it out.
4 – Botrytis Blight
If in addition to yellow leaves your plant has stems that are looking more and more frail and the flowers are wilting, you impatiens is probably suffering from botrytis blight. This fungus affects areas of the plant that are most vulnerable.
Make sure to cut away infected parts of the plant and immediately destroy them. Going forward, mist the plant with a solution of water with 10 percent bleach added to kill the fungus so it doesn’t continue to spread.
5 – Downy Mildew
Another item that can cause yellowing of the leaves is downy mildew. If you see brown spots on the leaves don’t be surprised to see them turn yellow next.
While it is not a fungus this mildew cannot be eradicated with bleach so you will have to remove and destroy the entire plant.
Do not replant another impatiens in the same spot until you can remove the infected soil and replace it.
6 – Verticillium Wilt
Verticillium wilt is a fungus that attacks the soil first so because impatiens plants are inexpensive annuals you are going to have to proceed the same way as for the downy mildew – remove the plants and destroy them.
How Do You Prevent Further Yellowing of the Leaves?
The only way you can keep the leaves of your impatiens plant from turning yellow is to keep them evenly watered – not too much and not too little – and watch for even the slightest color change or weakening of the stems.
If you catch the problem early enough you may be able to save your pretty flora by applying an insecticide specifically for flowering plants.
Growing up with a mom who filled her home (inside and out) with all sorts of plants, Lisa got her start in gardening at a young age. Living now on her own with a home and yard full of plants (including an indoor greenhouse), she shares all the gardening tips she’s gained over the years.